Openings and Closings

Jelly Owner to Open Harvey Park Grille at Former Rosemary Cafe Location

Rosemary Cafe closed last May after thirty years in business.
Rosemary Cafe closed last May after thirty years in business. Rosemary Cafe/Facebook
“I couldn’t [have lived] with myself if someone else got in here and did something with it,” says Josh Epps, who used to frequent Rosemary Cafe before it closed in May 2022. Later this year, after extensive renovations, it will reopen as Harvey Park Grille under Epps’s ownership.

Part of what drew Epps to the opportunity is that for the past six years, he’s been a local to Harvey Park. In addition, Epps has more than a decade of restaurant ownership experience. He opened the first Jelly Cafe in Capitol Hill in 2010, followed by a second location in the University of Denver neighborhood.

But the expense associated with this next business endeavor made Epps pause. In his initial research, he explains, “the cost of the building and the remodel just would have been a little too much — so I backed out.”

Councilman Kevin Flynn, who represents District 2, in which Harvey Park falls, was involved in identifying a new owner after Rosemary Cafe shut its doors. Still interested, Epps recalls, “I put together some numbers for a couple of months and I talked to Kevin. We didn’t realize until we started talking [that] his son was one of the original cooks at Jelly.”

Epps adds that he “kicked it around for a while and finally just bit the bullet and [jumped] in.” For the next several months, while waiting for the city to approve its restaurant permit, the building will undergo some significant changes.
click to enlarge
A rendering of Harvey Park Grille’s future interior.
Harvey Park Grille
“We want to keep that mid-century vibe that it had,” Epps notes, adding that some of the furniture is being reupholstered, but overall, the aesthetic changes are “very comprehensive.”

In terms of the new menu, “We’ve done a couple of research and development sessions, [but] we’re not going to do anything mind-blowing on purpose," Epps explains. "We want to keep it accessible and make it a neighborhood place where you can watch the games and get some wings, get a burger.”

Epps confirms that traditional American cuisine is the focus, but he hasn’t yet decided on Harvey Park Grille’s hours. Currently, the plan is to be open for lunch and dinner plus weekend brunch service. He adds, “There is going to be a need for breakfast, and I think eventually we might get there, but that’s a big undertaking to begin with. So once we get our feet under us, we’re going to reassess.”

One thing Harvey Park Grille will definitely serve is booze. “We’ve already started with our alcohol license,” says Epps. He explains that since the pandemic, Denver restaurants have been granted more relaxed alcohol regulations. “There’s a school across the street, so we wouldn’t have been able to do this without those rules being suspended.”
click to enlarge
A mood board built to represent Harvey Park Grille’s aesthetic.
Harvey Park Grille
Harvey Park Grille aims to open this summer, and Epps notes that “this will be a pretty big level up for the company.” To get the new restaurant up and running, he says that to some extent, he’ll likely need to step away from both Jelly Cafe operations, but "it’s pretty much self-running at this point. I [have] good people in the right places, and that’s kind of what led me to decide that it might be time for something more.”

He also believes that the neighborhood could benefit from more. “Harvey Park is in such a need of something to keep people in Harvey Park," Epps says. "There’s a bunch of young professionals in the area. Me and all my neighbors, we’re going to South Broadway. We’re going to Sloan's Lake. We’re leaving our neighborhood to get any kind of dinner or night out.”

He concludes, “There’s half of a handful of places in Harvey Park that you want to go out to, and we’re really looking forward to servicing that need.”
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.

Latest Stories